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                                                       Calendar No. 643
110th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     110-291

======================================================================



 
                  ACADIA NATIONAL PARK IMPROVEMENT ACT

                                _______
                                

                 April 10, 2008.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Bingaman, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1329]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 1329) to extend the Acadia National Park 
Advisory Commission, to provide improved visitor services at 
the park, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon with amendments and recommends that 
the bill, as amended, do pass.
    The amendments are as follows:
    1. On page 1, line 5, strike ``2007'' and insert ``2008''.
    2. On page 2, line 24, strike ``shall'' and insert ``may''.
    3. On page 3, line 8, strike ``and cooperative agreements'' 
and insert ``and, notwithstanding chapter 63 of title 31, 
United States Code, cooperative agreements.''.
    4. On page 3, line 16, strike ``system'' and insert 
``system (or any successor transit system)''.

                                Purpose

    The purposes of S. 1329 are to increase the authorization 
ceiling for land acquisition at Acadia National Park; to extend 
the term of the Acadia National Park Advisory Commission; and 
to provide for improved visitor services at the park.

                          Background and Need

    Acadia National Park encompasses over 47,000 acres on Mount 
Desert Island in Maine and includes granite-domed mountains, 
woodlands, lakes and ponds, and dramatic ocean shoreline. In 
1986, the park's boundary was formally established by Public 
Law 99-420. S. 1329 contains four provisions extending its land 
conveyance authority, extending the park's advisory commission, 
increasing the land acquisition ceiling, and authorizing the 
Secretary to participate in planning, construction and 
operation of an intermodal transportation center to improve the 
visitor enjoyment of the park.
    Public Law 99-420 also established a process through which 
the park and nearby towns could convey lands to one another so 
that lands owned by towns within the park boundary could be 
transferred to the National Park Service and small parcels of 
Federal land outside of the park boundary could be transferred 
to adjacent towns. However, the law contained a ten-year sunset 
of this authority. S. 1329 eliminates the ten-year limitation.
    Public Law 99-420 also established a 16-member advisory 
commission to advise the Secretary of the Interior on matters 
relating to the management and development of Acadia National 
Park, including the acquisition of lands and interests in lands 
(including conservation easements on islands), and termination 
of rights-of-use and occupancy. The advisory commission plays 
an important role advising the park and serving as a liaison 
between the park and the local community that still resides in 
the park. The authority for the Commission terminated on 
September 25, 2006. S. 1329 extends the Commission's authority 
for an additional twenty years.
    S. 1329 also increases Acadia National Park's land 
acquisition ceiling by $10 million, to $28 million. There are 
still many tracts of private land within Acadia's authorized 
boundary that can be developed in ways incompatible with the 
purposes of the park. Congress established the official 
boundary in 1986. The National Park Service was directed to buy 
properties within the boundary from willing sellers to complete 
the park; however, due to escalating real estate prices on 
Mount Desert Island, the park is now limited in its ability to 
protect additional lands. Increasing the land acquisition 
ceiling will address this problem.
    Finally, S. 1329 authorizes the Secretary of the Interior 
to participate in the planning, construction and operation of 
an intermodal transportation center that would be located 
outside of park boundaries that is needed to reduce traffic 
congestion as well as preserve park resources and the visitor 
experience. The proposed center would be located in Trenton, 
Maine.

                          Legislative History

    S. 1329 was introduced by Senators Collins and Snowe on May 
8, 2007. The Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on 
the bill on September 11, 2007. (S. Hrg. 110-213) During the 
109th Congress, the Committee considered a similar bill, S. 
1154. S. 1154 was ordered reported by the Committee on 
September 28, 2005 (S. Rpt. 109-151) and it passed the Senate 
by unanimous consent on November 16, 2005.
    At its business meeting on January 30, 2008, the Committee 
on Energy and Natural Resources ordered S. 1329 favorably 
reported, with amendments.

                        Committee Recommendation

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on January 30, 2008, by a voice vote of a 
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 1329, if 
amended as described herein.

                          Committee Amendments

    During the consideration of S. 1329 the Committee adopted 
three amendments related to the Intermodal Transportation 
Center near the park. The amendments clarify that the 
Secretary's authority to provide assistance for the center is 
discretionary, not mandatory, and make other clarifying and 
conforming amendments. A fourth amendment updates the short 
title of the bill.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    Section 1 contains the short title, the ``Acadia National 
Park Improvement Act of 2008''.
    Section 2 amends section 102(d) of Public Law 99-420 (16 
U.S.C. 341) to eliminate a deadline by which towns owning lands 
within the park boundary could convey those lands to the park 
or receive parcels of Federal land outside the park boundary.
    Section 3 amends section 103(f) of Public Law 99-420 to 
extend the authorization of the Acadia National Park Advisory 
Commission by an additional 20 years.
    Section 4 amends section 106(a) of Public Law 99-420 to 
increase the park's authorization for land acquisition from 
$9.1 million to $28 million.
    Section 5 adds a new section 108 to Public Law 99-420 to 
authorize the Secretary of the Interior to assist with the 
planning, construction, and operation of an intermodal 
transportation center outside the park's boundaries. New 
Section 108(b) as added by Section 5 authorizes the Secretary 
to enter into interagency agreements with other Federal, State 
and local agencies, and nonprofit organizations to provide 
exhibits, interpretive services, and technical assistance; 
disseminate information relating to the park and Island 
Explorer transit system; provide financial assistance for the 
construction of the transportation center; and assist with the 
operation and maintenance of the transportation center. 
Finally, new section 108(c) as added by section 5 authorizes 
appropriations to carry out section 108.

                   Cost and Budgetary Considerations

    The following estimate of costs of this measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:

S. 1329--Acadia National Park Improvement Act of 2007

    Summary: S. 1329 would amend existing laws that govern the 
authority of the National Park Service (NPS) to operate the 
Acadia National Park in Maine. Assuming appropriation of the 
necessary amounts, CBO estimates that implementing this bill 
would cost $14 million over the 2009-2013 period. Enacting S. 
1329 would have no effect on revenues or direct spending.
    The bill contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of S. 1329 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300 
(natural resources and environment).

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      By fiscal year, in millions of
                                                 dollars--
                                 ---------------------------------------
                                   2009    2010    2011    2012    2013
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATlON

Estimated Authorization Level...       3       3       3       3       2
Estimated Outlays...............       3       3       3       3       2
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of estimate: For the estimate, CBO assumes that S. 
1329 will be enacted before the start of 2009. We assume that 
the entire amounts authorized or estimated to be necessary will 
be appropriated for each fiscal year. Estimated outlays are 
based on historical patterns for similar NPS acquisition and 
development projects.
    S. 1329 would increase the statutory ceiling for land 
acquisition costs at Acadia from $9.1 million to $28 million. 
Because $18 million has already been appropriated and spent for 
this purpose, the proposed increase represents a change of $10 
million. CBO estimates that this amount would be spent over a 
five-year period (2009 through 2013) to purchase up to 100 
tracts of land within the park's existing boundaries.
    The bill also would authorize the NPS to participate in 
designing, building, and operating a transportation center 
located outside of park boundaries. Based on information 
provided by the agency, CBO expects that most of the cost of 
constructing the center would be borne by the Department of 
Transportation under existing authority. We estimate that the 
NPS would spend about $4 million over the 2009-2012 period to 
furnish a small visitor facility within the center and develop 
appropriate exhibits and other interpretive materials. We 
estimate that new annual costs to help operate the center would 
be less than $500,000 annually.
    Finally, S. 1329 would extend the life of the Acadia 
National Park Advisory Committee for an additional 20 years. 
Authority for the commission expired near the end of fiscal 
year 2006. CBO estimates that the cost of operating the 
commission would be less than $50,000 a year.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 1329 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or 
tribal governments.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Mark Grabowicz; Impact 
on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Melissa Merrell; 
Impact on the Private Sector: MarDestinee C. Perez.
    Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Assistant Director 
for Budget Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Evaluation

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out S. 1329. The bill is not a regulatory measure in 
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or 
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals 
and businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of S. 1329, as ordered reported.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    In accordance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following identification of congressionally directed spending 
items contained in the bill, as reported:
    Section: 4; Provision: $28 million; Members: Senators 
Collins and Snowe.

                        Executive Communications


 Statement of Daniel N. Wenk, Deputy Director, National Park Service, 
                       Department of the Interior

    Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear 
before your committee to present the views of the Department of 
the Interior on S. 1329, a bill to extend the Acadia National 
Park Advisory Commission, to provide improved visitor services 
at the park, and for other purposes. The Department supports 
enactment of this bill with two technical amendments.
    If enacted, S. 1329 would accomplish four objectives. 
First, it would extend the life of the 16-member Acadia 
National Park Advisory Commission, which expired in September 
2006, for an additional 20 years. Second, the bill would extend 
the authority of the Secretary to exchange land with local 
towns in order to allow both parties to consolidate land 
holdings within their borders. Third, the bill would increase 
the park's land acquisition ceiling from $9.1 million to $28 
million. Fourth, it would authorize Acadia National Park to 
participate in the planning, construction, and operation of an 
intermodal transportation center outside the park's boundaries.


                acadia national park advisory commission


    The Acadia National Park Advisory Commission had been in 
operation for almost 20 years, before it expired on September 
30, 2006, and was a valuable asset that enhanced communication 
between park managers and local communities. The Commission's 
state and local representatives participated actively, and they 
strongly support its reauthorization. The cost of administering 
the Commission is minimal and is covered by the park's 
operating budget.


                 extension of land conveyance authority


    Before 1986, Acadia National Park did not have a well-
defined boundary. The boundary established in 1986 by Public 
Law 99-420 included certain lands owned by local towns and 
excluded certain lands owned by the National Park Service. In 
order to allow the park and the towns to consolidate holdings 
within their respective boundaries, section 102(d)(2) gave the 
Secretary the authority to convey lands outside the park 
boundary to the towns for no consideration after the towns had 
conveyed all of their land within the park boundary to the 
park. This provision set a 10-year deadline for these 
conveyances in order to encourage timely action.
    Several towns missed the 10-year deadline, but are still 
interested in exchanging lands with the National Park Service. 
This bill would extend the authority of the Secretary to 
exchange lands with the towns indefinitely. Without this 
amendment, the park would continue to own isolated small tracts 
of land outside the park boundary, and the towns would continue 
to own small isolated tracts of land inside the park boundary. 
The proposed change would benefit both the park and the towns 
by continuing to allow each of them to consolidate land 
ownership.


                  increase in land acquisition ceiling


    Acadia National Park's authorized land acquisition ceiling 
of $9.1 million has been reached, although there are over 100 
tracts left to be acquired to complete the park as authorized 
by Congress in 1986. Land prices on Mount Desert Island, where 
Acadia National Park is located, have increased dramatically 
since 1986 and may continue to do so if local home-inflation 
trends continue. Many willing landowners are anxious to sell, 
but the park cannot buy the land because the land acquisition 
ceiling does not permit the use of sufficient appropriated 
funds to acquire them, thus leaving valuable resources within 
the park threatened with incompatible development.
    The Land and Water Conservation Fund Act (LWCF) authorizes 
the National Park Service to exceed the land acquisition 
ceiling by 10%, or $1 million annually, whichever is greater. 
Under this authority, Acadia NP may exceed the land acquisition 
ceiling by a maximum of $1 million per year. To date, Congress 
has appropriated $8.9 million beyond Acadia's land acquisition 
ceiling, bringing total appropriations for land acquisition at 
the park to $18 million. However, because the LWCF 
authorization limits National Park Service annual expenditures 
on additional land acquisition to $1 million or less, the 
National Park Service has been unable to purchase several 
undeveloped tracts that are valued at more than $1 million. If 
these undeveloped tracts within the boundaries of the park are 
developed with new structures, acquisition costs will increase. 
Acquiring these lands sooner rather than later is more cost-
effective for the National Park Service in the long run. In 
addition, the park currently faces encroachment issues, where 
private landowners use adjacent park lands for swing sets, hot 
tubs, sheds and the like. The proposed $28 million ceiling 
would allow the National Park Service to acquire all parcels of 
land that are located within the boundary of the park that are 
currently available for sale.
    Incompatible development within park boundaries can degrade 
the natural and cultural values that are important to the 
visitors of Acadia National Park. There are also ``spillover'' 
impacts from use of private lands that are surrounded by park 
land including noise and light impacts, which tend to drive the 
public away from these parts of the park. Finally, larger 
blocks of land are more cost-effective to manage than smaller 
discontinuous parcels that are owned by multiple owners and 
thus, result in higher boundary monitoring and patrol costs.


                    intermodal transportation center


    The intermodal transportation center is the final piece of 
a three-phase transportation strategy that was developed with 
the assistance of an interagency team of transportation and 
park managers. The interagency team was established pursuant to 
the 1997 Memorandum of Understanding between the Secretary of 
Transportation and the Secretary of the Interior to 
comprehensively address public transportation in and around our 
national parks. Language in S. 1329 authorizing Acadia National 
Park to participate in the planning, construction and operation 
of an intermodal transportation center outside park boundaries 
is essential for completion of a highly successful 
transportation system that operates through a consortium of 
twenty partners. These partners include the U.S. Department of 
Transportation, the Maine Department of Transportation, and 
many local interests who developed this transportation strategy 
and have combined their resources to offer the Island Explorer, 
a bus system that uses clean propane-powered vehicles to move 
visitors around the Island. The operational costs are paid for 
by a special transportation fee imposed at Acadia, state and 
local funds, and business contributions.
    Daily summer use of the Island Explorer has averaged 3,700 
riders and more than 1.5 million riders have used the popular 
system since it began in 1999. Traffic congestion on Mount 
Desert Island and the negative impacts of too many vehicles in 
Acadia National Park have been reduced, and the park's air 
quality has improved annually.
    Currently, overnight visitors are picked up at their 
lodgings by the Island Explorer, but the increasing numbers of 
day use visitors do not have access to the transit system 
because it lacks a central parking and bus boarding area. As 
planned, the project calls for developing an off-island 
intermodal transportation center to serve day users of Mount 
Desert Island and Acadia National Park. The center is needed to 
maximize the benefits of the transit system and to fully 
achieve the project's goals of reducing traffic congestion, 
preserving park resources and the visitor experience, and 
ensuring a vibrant tourist economy.
    The proposed center would be strategically located on Route 
3 (the only road to Mount Desert Island and Acadia National 
Park) in Trenton, Maine. A non-profit partner will acquire the 
land using donated funds. The Maine Department of 
Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration will have 
the lead in the planning and construction of the center, which 
will include parking for day users, a visitor orientation 
facility highlighting park and regional points of interest, a 
bus boarding area, and a bus maintenance garage.
    Most of the proposed facility would be built with funds 
provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation to the State 
of Maine. The National Park Service would be responsible for 
the design, construction, and operation of all or part of the 
visitor orientation portion of the center, which would include 
exhibits, media presentations, and general information for park 
visitors bound for Acadia National Park. The National Park 
Service might also contribute to maintenance and operation of 
the facility. The proposed center would replace the park's 
inadequate Thompson Island Information Center, which is too 
small to accommodate the large number of summer visitors to the 
park, contains out-of-date exhibits, and is not optimally 
located to intercept visitors.
    We recommend two technical amendments be made to section 5 
of the bill. First, we would like to clarify that the Secretary 
would be authorized to conduct activities that facilitate the 
dissemination of information relating to the Island Explorer or 
any successor to the Island Explorer in case the transit system 
is renamed. Second, in order to preserve the Secretary's 
flexibility in how resources are allocated in the National Park 
Service, we recommend an amendment to the authority provided to 
the Secretary to contribute to the Intermodal Transportation 
Center. The amendments are attached to this testimony.
    Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to comment. 
This concludes my prepared remarks and I will be happy to 
answer any questions you or other committee members might have.


 technical amendments to s. 1329, the acadia national park improvement 
                              act of 2007


    On p. 2, line 24, strike ``shall'' and insert ``may''.
    On p. 3, line 16, strike ``system;'' and insert ``system or 
any successor transit system;''.

    The testimony provided by the National Park Service at the 
September 11, 2007 Subcommittee hearing on S. 1329.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
the bill S. 1329 as ordered reported, are shown as follows 
(existing law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black 
brackets, new matter is printed in italic, existing law in 
which no change is proposed is shown in roman):

                           Public Law 99-420


 A BILL To establish a permanent boundary for the Acadia National Park 
in the State of Maine, and for other purposes

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 102. LANDS WITHIN BOUNDARIES.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


    (d)(1) In exercising his authority to acquire lands by 
exchange pursuant to this title [this note], the Secretary may 
accept title to non-Federal property located within the 
boundary of the Park and may convey to the grantor of such 
property any federally owned property under the jurisdiction of 
the Secretary which lies outside said boundary and depicted on 
the map. Properties so exchanged shall be approximately equal 
in value, as determined by the Secretary, except that the 
Secretary may accept cash from or pay cash to the grantor in 
such an exchange in order to equalize the value of the 
properties exchanged.
    [(2) Federally owned property under jurisdiction of the 
Secretary referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection which 
is not exchanged within 10 years after enactment of this Act, 
shall be conveyed to the towns in which the property is located 
without encumbrance and without monetary consideration, except 
that no town shall be eligible to receive such lands unless, 
within 10 years after enactment of this Act, lands within the 
Park boundary and owned by the town have been acquired by the 
Secretary.]
    (2) Federally-owned property under jurisdiction of the 
Secretary referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall 
be conveyed to the towns in which the property is located 
without encumbrance and without monetary consideration, except 
that no town shall be eligible to receive such lands unless 
lands within the Park boundary and owned by the town have been 
conveyed to the Secretary.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 103. ADVISORY COMMISSION.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


    (f) The Commission established under this section shall 
terminate [20] 40 years after the enactment of this Act.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 106. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    (a) Effective October 1, 1986, there are authorized to be 
appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out the 
provisions of this title [this note], but not to exceed 
[$9,100,000] $28,000,000 for acquisition of lands and interests 
therein.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 108. INTERMODAL TRANSPORTATION CENTER.

    (a) In General.--The Secretary shall provide assistance in 
the planning, construction, and operation of an intermodal 
transportation center located outside of the boundary of the 
Park in the town of Trenton, Maine to improve the management, 
interpretation, and visitor enjoyment of the Park.
    (b) Agreements.--To carry out subsection (a), in 
administering the intermodal transportation center, the 
Secretary may enter into interagency agreements with other 
Federal agencies, and cooperative agreements, under appropriate 
terms and conditions, with State and local agencies, and 
nonprofit organizations--
          (1) to provide exhibits, interpretive services 
        (including employing individuals to provide such 
        services), and technical assistance;
          (2) to conduct activities that facilitate the 
        dissemination of information relating to the Park and 
        the Island Explorer transit system;
          (3) to provide financial assistance for the 
        construction of the intermodal transportation center in 
        exchange for space in the center that is sufficient to 
        interpret the Park; and
          (4) to assist with the operation and maintenance of 
        the intermodal transportation center.
    (c) Authorization of Appropriations.--
          (1) In general.--There are authorized to be 
        appropriated to the Secretary such sums as are 
        necessary to carry out this section (including 
        planning, design and construction of the intermodal 
        transportation center).
          (2) Operations and maintenance.--There are authorized 
        to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to 
        maintain and operate the intermodal transportation 
        center.